BY DARGIE KAHSAY
The annual summit of the African Union (AU) summit for the 2022 is scheduled to be hold in Addis Ababa on February 05 and 06 with the motto of “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerating the human capital, social and economic development”. This motto aims to build continental resilience in nutrition by facilitating economic and social development of the continent.
This year’s continental summit motto has a direct linkage with the objective of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) which was officially launched on January 2021, though its implementation was affected by COVID-19. The objective of the AfCFTA is to facilitate continental development through creating a single continental market by eliminating and reducing the trade barriers, tariff and non-tariff.
AfCFTA is more than a trade agreement that can open opportunities for hundreds of millions of Africans. It is about creating jobs. AfCFTA is all about widening access to economic opportunities to the people of the continent. It’s all about synergizing the economic potential of the continent for the continent’s development.
With this ambitious objective of integrating African market for the development of African continent, AfCFTA launched last year though its impacts are still unseen. Yet, economists and politicians are praising this continental initiative and calling for supportive policy measures to accelerate and for the proper functioning of this continental free trade agreement.
The initiative of the African leaders to enter to the continental free trade agreement was appreciated and economists hoped the initiative to push one-step forward for the economic development and trade transaction of the continent. But, after a year since the implementation of the first phase of the continental free trade agreement, the progress is unsatisfactory.
Beyond the economic and trade purposes, AfCFTA would play great role in developing the social development and people-to-people flow across the continent. Full implementation of AfCFTA would facilitate and accelerate the continental integration by developing the intra-continental people-to-people and government-to-government relations. In addition, its implementation develops regional and continental infrastructural developments and networks.
As it promotes infrastructural developments, cultural transactions, people-to-people relations and economic developments across the continent, AfCFTA has the potential to lift the continent from poverty within short period. Full implementation of the continental agreement would help to promote new local and continental innovations, youth participation and further opportunities; by creating these opportunities AfCFTA has the power to halt instabilities in the continent.
As its motto tells us, this year the continental leaders’ summit gives attention to develop the continent’s resilience in nutrition by accelerating the human capital, social and economic developments. All these objectives of the motto are achieved if the implementation of the continental free trade area becomes fully implemented. For the proper implementation of the AfCFTA, it needs strong commitment and initiative of the continent’s leaders.
I think there is no appropriate time than this year’s leaders’ summit to cut the barriers of the AfCFTA. If the continental decision makers want to implement the motto of the summit, it is the appropriate time to put appropriate policy measures to accelerate the AfCFTA. African summits are always decorated with smart words and colorful mottos, but there is huge limitation in implementing the mottos and the promises.
I think it is time to say #NoMore only colorful mottos, the continent needs sound actions. Africa needs actual and practicable policies and actions. The continent needs concrete actions and decisions from the gathering of its decision makers in Addis Ababa. The people of the continent are tired off cocktail summits of their leaders accompanied with colorful mottos and beautiful words.
Time is ticking. We remain thousands of miles behind the world. It’s not because we are poor. It is because of our unpracticable decisions, policies and backward democratic culture. It is because weakness and limitations of the leaders of the continent. It is nothing but lack of strategic policies and commitment of our leaders. Over 1.3 billion people are expecting concrete decisions from the gathering of their leaders at Addis.
African leaders, do you have appropriate policy solutions for your billion people? It’s time for real action beyond words and mottos. Adjust your policy measures and act now and live your mottos. Africa needs not mottos or your bla bla… words, but concrete policies, strategies and actions.
Remember, 2020’s AU summit theme was “Silencing the Guns.” Did Africa silence the guns? While the 2021’s theme of the summit was “The AU Year of the Arts, Culture and Heritage: Levers for Building the Africa We Want.” I think, after the summit, these themes may discard to the shelf. I think this year’s theme has also no different destiny than throwing to the shelf after the two days summit.
Hence, for the actual implementation of the 2022 theme of the AU summit, “Building resilience in nutrition on the African continent: Accelerating the human capital, social and economic development,” the leaders of the continent should put appropriate policy measures for the implementation of AfCFTA.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The
The February 2/2022